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  • Us

    Us

    The allegorical conception of the oppressed/oppressor is pushed in a frustratingly elusive manner, and only to the extent of provoking discussion, typical of horror movies that rely on the cult for their subsistence. The attempt at presenting class separation through the Home Invasion sub-genre à la Martyrs feels played out, and the litany of nerd references show a lack of faith in the actual product.

  • Gamer

    Gamer

    ★★★★★

    A palpably real look at the displaced and dissatisfied individual in a pre-ordained societal system that only ever really wants the same from everyone. Told through the veneer of the Quake phenomenon that, for the protagonist, is a possibility of life outside the hyper-commodified until it also inevitably gets swallowed up by the system, and the only solace left is to regress to an imagined simpler past.

  • Hail

    Hail

    ★★

    Serious Arthouse Movie kinda shoots itself in the foot with nothing much to say about post-prison life, with too many artistic music video-like shots and extreme close-ups for its own good. But the random unexpected shot of a vag, the sequence with a flickering white light reacting to the intensifying drone music, and the first half hour where there was still an aura of mystery to the events were pretty good.

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Blatantly engineered to get a younger audience interested in Spider-Man and the larger comic book culture while also throwing in meta jokes and references so the older audience doesn’t  feel completely out of the loop. Aesthetically, the movie tries to break new ground, but the hyper-kinetic indie comic aesthetic is too obnoxious and simply too jarring to be endured, particularly when coupled with the same multiverse nonsense that has become a cheap way to create narrative where there is none.

  • 9 Fingers

    9 Fingers

    ★★★★★

    Almost entirely a superb exercise in style with fragmented high-brow existential dialogue that manages to create a wonderful sense of atmosphere with meandering lingering shots that simultaneously evoke unease and awe at the same time. Unabashedly a film-noir pastiche with its associated traits of anachronism and sexism, but why hold that against it when done so well?

  • Searching

    Searching

    ★★★★

    The gimmick is mostly the thing making this been-there-done-that mystery thriller work with emotion and suspense wholly delivered through clicks on a screen. It really does help that Chaganty knows his tech and manges to make everything on the laptop screen look believable (reddit, tumblr, etc.).

  • Crazy Rich Asians

    Crazy Rich Asians

    To repeat a tired joke, the sexual tension between me and the exit door was definitely a lot more intense than the leads in this movie. The script is basically just boilerplate and honestly I don't even think these people are as rich as they think they are.

  • The International

    The International

    ★★★★★

    Good mostly does not triumph over evil, and sometimes it's nice to have a movie that comes out and says that. And says it while looking amazing and remaining true to its intentions. The terrific action sequence at the Guggenheim does make the proceedings feel a little anticlimactic, but its conviction to see its cynical message through won me over.

  • Hereditary

    Hereditary

    ★★★★★

    Every event in the movie falls into place with a checkerboard-like precision to make the ending happen and it only makes perfect sense in retrospect, but nonetheless manages to keep you disoriented for a significant length post-watch. True horror isn't in the jump scare, it's in the sublime.

  • Incredibles 2

    Incredibles 2

    Another cutesy slapstick movie from Pixar rehashing the same old tired storylines we've seen done better elsewhere while also somehow managing to shoehorn in all the "relevant" issues that make the headlines. Couldn't say I expected more, but I still harbored some hope that I was wrong.

  • Unsane

    Unsane

    ★★

    The hacking together of the stalker and the insurance scam subplots makes this into a jumbled mess of a movie that only hints at a more coherent and interesting movie buried underneath. Also, the 80's thriller aesthetic is played out and we should just let it die.

  • Game Night

    Game Night

    ★★★★★

    I was wrong about this. Game Night is the most layered and expertly crafted comedy movie to come out of a studio in years. I find new things to appreciate every time. The theme of a game is carried over into every aspect of the movie – writing, dialogue, music, direction, etc. It's kind of insane how much thought has been put into this.